Amateur Hour in the Obama Camp


The above is a photo of a white Obama organizer canvassing the beauty shops of Horry County, South Carolina.   This is in the New York Times.    Uh, PROBLEM.  This B.S. is not gonna do.   South Carolina is among the most racially polarized places in the nation and as such, sending a white woman to do a sistah’s job is simply insane-especially when people believe Obama will be assassinated should he be elected.

This photo underscores the skepticism that I’ve been feeling for some time towards his candidacy and his campaign organization.   They knew they had to do the church thing and have done that.  They knew they had to organize the whole state and have done that. They have even reached out to white voters, even though that is largely a waste of time in the Deep South when your candidate is black. 

They knew what had to be done and still managed to have a white woman photographed as an organizer in black beauty shops.   While this photo may make the career of this chick, it will do nothing for Barack Obama’s quest for the White House. It shouldn’t have been allowed to happen given the fact that Obama has a sistah running his operation in South Carolina.    The sistah running Hillary’s South Carolina operation must be laughing hysterically because it proves which sistah is on top of her game.  

Finally, this picture reveals that despite the massive amounts of organizing they’ve done, it is still amateur hour in the Obama camp.   Having a white woman become the face of your campaign, when you’re in a fight to the death for black voters already skeptical of your chances against the most powerful political machine on earth, ain’t never a good idea.

Hat Tip to Thought Merchant for posting excerpts of the Times article and bringing this to my attention. 


27 thoughts on “Amateur Hour in the Obama Camp

  1. sagereader

    I’m not so worried about this for a few reasons…

    1: Maybe she’s just really light-skinneded. j/k

    2: If you watch the video of the campaign worker, these women don’t seem to be phased by the fact that she may not be black at all. In fact, they say they like what they are hearing and one is really interested in getting more information.

    3: If black people are so hung up on the fact that they don’t believe whites are ready for a black President or that white people are going to hurt him, it might actually be good to see some white people coming to them passionately asking for their vote. If you’re standing in a voting booth on election day and your biggest concern about Obama is that white America is ready, it might be good to be able to think about the fact that a white person actually recruited you to the campaign.

  2. Janice, Sage Reader

    Let me be clear. When trying to do outreach to black voters, black organizers must do that, especially in the Deep South. The face presented to black women should be black-preferably Mrs. Obama. White campaign workers can be better put to use doing other things.

    Michelle should be living down there with her kids in tow and doing events inviting black women on a regular basis.

    Its one thing to say no to a white organizer, its another to say it to Michelle Obama.

  3. Everyone:

    Reason #455566 to be concerned about Obama’s campaign:

    That sista in the chair is looking like why didn’t Obama send a sista here to talk to me? His organizers should be aware of the demographics they’re trying to reach, first and formost. Which indicates he has an inexperienced person running and managing his campaign. It’s not about ethnicity, either. Jesse Jackson mounted up the challenges he did in 1984 and 1988, because his manager, a white guy named Frank Watkins, studied the demongraphics Jesse needed to reach, and ran Jesse’s campaign like a well-oiled machine. Obama doesn’t have a Frank Watkins in his organizing group, because there are too many goof-ups being made here, in Obama trying to be all things to all people.

    Screw Kos for a minute, here – because he’s never really warmed up to Obama. Hell, he’s giving the Dark Sith props for doing shyt he should have been doing anyway, saying that beatdown he gave homeboy on Meet The Press changed his outlook, but I digress.

    Michelle Obama is one woman. Obama can’t round up any other sistas to come to his aid? That might explain why the Borg Queen is getting the sista vote and not him – he’s making the same mistake the Dark Sith did in his Senate campaign – take the most important factors of your base for granted. The Dark sith was so far gone, he couldn’t even get the brothas to back him. While the brothas are backing Obama, he needs to look at why the Borg Queen has already gotten 25% of the CBC to endorse her and not HIM. Big mistake right off the bat – alienating CBC members like Conyers, Waters, Lee, Bobby Scott – in other words, the progressive, trying-to-get-shyt-done faction of the CBC. Screw what Mel Watt, Carolyn Kilpatrick and Elijah Cummings have to say because Obama screwed them up when they tried to prostitute him to Fixed Noise for that presidential debate that didn’t come to pass.

    Obama needs to shake up his staff because if he doesn’t, they’re going to lose this race for him; at this point in the game, he should at least be in a dead heat with the Borg Queen, and like Speed Racer racing against Racer X, the Borg Queen manages to gear up the Mach 5 and pull ahead of him as they roll down the stretch.

    SB, Obama’s proving everything you’ve said about him, and I didn’t even come close to speculating his crash and potential burn like you did.

  4. Andrea


    Okay…stop making excuses for Michelle too. She should know better and take over. This sends me a message that Michelle might not be too in touch with Black People like me who is Black People from the coastal Georgia and South Ca-ka-lacky region.

    We need it explained to us plain and simple, unfortunately. We need to be reassured. We need to know you are “alright, Boy” and “alright wit’ me”. We need to know “who your people’s are” and that you don’t act funny and not eat from our table like you are too could. These people are not that into innovation and ideas. They just need to know that if your Black you better be right in the head and heart.

    They need to know you have the stomach to fight because they, even too many times passive, still have to fight either themselves to remain calm and not go off or they have to have the courage to challenge the Establishments. These people don’t give a fuck about Belgian Endive and Michelle being nice. She better take control and lose that bourgie, “I come from working class Blacks” attitude and find her roots before they migrated to Chicago realizing the hope that really is there.

    She has to understand these people will waste a vote on knowing Hilary might be lieing to them but she went through the motions to kiss their asses, stroke their egos, and lie to them. Give these people credit and respect them as the constituent base you need.

    My family in Georgia and South Carolina I hear is voting for Hilary because she plays the game and she fools/strokes them they way they want to fool/stroked.

    Obama has a chance to educate my family through the process to let go of their need for White Paternalism but he has to play the same stupid game to get through to my people.

  5. yogo

    I agree, Andrea. People need to stop making excuses for Michelle. Everything they do is for a reason–obviously the campaign doesn’t want her out in front speaking to black women. An image like that, Michelle in a beauty shop talking to regular black women, looks too much like Michelle is a regular black woman. That’s not the image they’re going for.

    And why couldn’t they get some black college students campaigning for Obama? What about a black man? I keep hearing that black men are voting for Obama, why can’t they put a few black males out on the trail?

    They send a white woman to a black beauty shop knowing full well the problems black women have with white women. Or Snowflake, as rikyrah calls them. And let’s not even get into the irony of a white woman in a black beauty shop watching black women get relaxers. That’s gotta be a comfortable feeling for those sistahs.

    It’s not amateur hour, SB, it’s their strategy.

  6. Andrea

    You’ve made some valid points in strategy Yogo. You’ve offered simple strategies that are 1)fundamental, 2) common-sensical, 3) dually nurturing for the Black Community alone. We need something like your suggestions to give us cohesiveness and since we are so slow to build our own platform issues, just holding us accountable to get elected would put a lot of us to work in doing what our older generations were good at doing: politicking behind our own.

  7. john in california

    As a white guy, and always suspicious, I think white lady in black beauty shop was done to make sure the picture in the local papers would highlight that Obama is a candidate supported by whites. Obama may hear grumbles from blacks because he comes across as BlankMan w.r.t to being black as well as his dlc stance on the issues but he figures that if the choice is between him, hillary or Southern white guy Edwards, blacks will go for him. So, with that thought in his pocket, his major task is to attract white votes. He knows he will not change many southern white men’s opinion but the southern white women is another story. He is an atractive guy, Hillary has a hard time w/ women generally and more so in the South, and Edwards reminds them of the high school jock who didn’t give them a second glance, so by having an attractive white women do the canvasing for the cameras, his subliminal message to Southern white women is, “Hey, no matter what you tell your old man, in the voting booth it’s just you and me, babe!” Good old projection. With no RR daddy figure in the race, my bet is that white women will go for Obama, the Lover.
    I’m Kucinich all the way, but I don’t think there is anybody smarter in the race than Obama. He does not make political mistakes. I just wish he was as good as he is smart.

  8. sagereader

    I think Obama’s problem is less about black people thinking he’s not down with black people and more about black people thinking he’s not down with white people.

  9. sagereader,

    what you wrote doesn’t make much sense to me. Most of the ‘Skeptics’ around here just don’t want Obama to ‘ throw them under the bus’. – THAT is the concern that they have for The Community. When push comes to shove, WILL he stand up for The Black Community – and there is a Black Community.

    I give Obama more leeway than most here, and I totally see the utter stupidity in the IMAGE of that photograph. It’s so wrong on so many levels, and shows an insensitivity, or stupidity that I just didn’t think was in his campaign. And, it’s not the first time we’ve had discussions about this on this board. We’ve brought up his problems in California, and how his people totally f*$&ed that up too.

    You have to know where you are and where you’re trying to get votes. This isn’t Prince George’s County, or the Affluent Black Areas of Atlanta. This was SOUTH CAROLINA – the DEEP SOUTH – and the visual of that picture shows that they’re not listening to the Sister running his show in South Carolina, or they got the wrong Sister in South Carolina running the show.

    NO WAY should that have been the picture. The picture should have been of a YOUNG Black female college student pleading Obama’s case.

    I know you’re on his side; most days I am too, but I admit stupidity when I see it.

  10. but all too often he has avoided engaging in a way that touches the consciousness of black voters. Voters have told me that he’s sometimes sterile and not offering the kind of passion they desire.

    Roland nailed the issues Blacks have with Obama’s candidacy right there. And his campaign managers should know better.

    For those of you who said Michelle needs to bear some of the blame, too, you won’t get an arugment from me because as SB said, she needs to be camping out in South Carolina, since it appears they’ve given up on Iowa. If Black women don’t see her, and they see the Borg Queen, well, guess who’s getting their votes?

    The Borg Queen might have longevity, but Obama could have long countered this by getting into the grills of Black people early and often enough so we would know what his damned track record is. Whoever’s advising him needs to be fired, and he also needs to ask Jesse Jackson, Jr., to borrow his Chief of Staff (Frank Watkins) until the primaries start. This white guy knows his business; it’s how Jesse, Sr, run in 1984 and 1988 got taken seriously.

  11. Michael

    Absolutely no political instincts. I would no more do this that than I would send a black man or woman into the wealthy River Oaks area of Houston to discuss Obama’s campaign. Its simple marketing.

  12. I have yet to understand why is it that African Americans actually want Obama to “win”? He has put forth no serious agenda that addresses the Black community, he does not inspire the African American base, he doesn’t have a strong voice in the senate that commands respect, and he constantly shows fear of losing support among white liberals. Why are we even rooting for Obama? Simply because he’s black?

    John Edwards by far is speaking to the issues of concern to African Americans, yet he is constantly looked over for the “The Audacity of Hype” Barack Obama. I don’t understand why African Americans want an empty suit to do well when he has no platform for the community. At least not one he is willing to make a strong enough point about to gain Black support.

    Thought Merchant
    Politics and Commentary for the Thinking Person of Color

  13. Michael

    Wow,,, merchant….well said. This is the same question I’ve ask in many blogs, only to get flamed. I don’t understand it either. If fact I have openly posted in this very blog of my concern that people were ready to vote for this man because he is black (or at least close to black). No experience, very little instincts, not in the public long enough to have any crediblility, exemplified horrible foriegn policy instincts in public view by his idiotic, uninformed babbling about Pakistan (they at least have shut him up since that embarassment). In my mind he has been packaged and sold to the AA community….a nice meaningless book of feel-good platitudes (I would think a person would wait until he has ACTUALLY made some of those things happen before writing a book). Again, its speaks to his lack of credibility….the press and the DNC wants us to only think about his shirtless cover of TIME, the fawning BS coverage in the press, and his good intentions and ignore that this man has no standing,credibility and marginal experience. Not too mention this hilarious notion that he is black and therefore understands black issues. He is not black, marrying michelle does not make him black nor does his flaccid attempt to talk about black issues. I’m confused, Hillary is certainly not my pic. I couldn’t handle this pandering, fake socialist pig in office. I need to really study other candidates…Obama and Hillay are no-gos for me.

  14. Skep, thanks for keeping it real on this one. I wonder why it’s so hard for the Obama camp to at least catch a glimpse of what we have been saying all along?

  15. sagereader

    What conclusion are y’all drawing from that picture?

    He allowed a white campaign worker to be photographed doing outreach in black beauty shops, therefore….?

    Therefore black people are going to think he’s not down with black folk?

    Therefore black people are going to think he’s not ready for primetime?

    I don’t think either of those are his major hurdle for black people.

    Black people’s biggest hurdle is that they don’t think white people will support him or think white people will hurt him.

    Therefore, the best evidence to black folk to conquer that hurdle is to see white people who are supporting him, campaigning for him, giving millions of dollars to him, screaming for him in rallies, recruiting you to support him, etc.

    Put another way, it would not be a good sign if we only saw black people surrounding and campaigning for Barack Obama. We’d wonder where the white support was.

    My point is, for every one of y’all who say, “Why is that white girl campaigning for Obama?” There will be someone else who sees that picture and says, “Hmm…a white girl campaigning for him. Maybe white people might support him after all.” It can go either way. That’s why I don’t think it’s that big of a deal as y’all are making it out to be.

    As for thoughtmerchant and Michael, John Edwards called universal healthcare “irresponsible” and “impractical” in his 2004 campaign. I’m not buying his 2008 campaign extreme makeover. He’s going around campaigning in Iowa with “Cooter” from the Dukes of Hazzard. I think I’ll take a pass on that one.

  16. Ok yall know I was bound to show up.

    Daily Kos is the most spactic blog on the planet, one day they say O walks on water the next they say he is a coward. As we know blog types can be fickle.

    In refrence to the post this is the first and only picture i have seen of a white campaign staffer working in SC. Most of the photos and youtube videos I have seen are either of Michelle, Jasmine Guy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Alfre Woodard, and a whole slew of Gospel artists, or regular brothas and sistahs in SC for Obama. (sp any of that)

    Enjoy your weekend.

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